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June 02, 2021

By: Patti LaCroix/LaCroix Alpacas

The INTRANSIGENT Female. (LaCroix Alpacas)

Breeding a reluctant maiden.

The fruit of my labor: a healthy dam and cria.

The fruit of my labor: a healthy dam and cria.

I haven't had very much experience in breeding an intransigent maiden alpaca but I want to share my particular dilemma in case it helps a fellow alpaca breeder.

One autumn, I had a maiden that was willing to breed at 16 months old of age: i.e., when I behavior tested pregnant females, she would cush by the fence line nearest the breeding area and remain there for a few minutes after testing was completed. She would be two years old the following spring but she was, in my estimation, a little too young to breed. Since I prefer not to have autumn crias, if possible, I decided to wait until springtime.

Fast forward to the following spring. It's time to breed her, and every time maiden and herd sire are brought together, she runs like the wind to evade her suitor! If she has her way, no one is going to catch her...ever! And the herd sire senses this. After a minute or so during each encounter, he simply stands still and watches in amazement as she races around.

What to do? I decide to bring in my most aggressive male although I have no intention of actually breeding her to him. This particular herd sire simply won't give up the pursuit, and she soon realizes that fact and cushes. As soon as he has only just begun to penetrate her vulva, he is removed from her to avoid an unplanned pregnancy. Two days later, I expose her yet again to the herd sire of my choice, and she cushes like a pro: calmly and accepting. A stunning change in attitude! When she is next tested, she is pregnant and she eventually produces the offspring of the desired herd sire. And this female, once proven, had no further difficulties in breeding. Thankfully!

My problem didn't prove to be particularly difficult, and the solution, in this case, was rather simple. I simply hope that writing about my experience might prove useful to a fellow breeder. Each day, there is something new to learn about the wonderful alpaca!